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Capacitive micromachined ultrasonic transducers (CMUTs) featuring piston-shaped membranes (piston CMUTs) were developed to improve device performance in terms of transmission efficiency, reception sensitivity, and fractional bandwidth (FBW). A piston CMUT has a relatively flat active moving surface whose membrane motion is closer to ideal piston-type motion compared with a CMUT with uniformly thick membranes (classical CMUT). Piston CMUTs with a more uniform surface displacement profile can achieve high output pressure with a relatively small electrode separation. The improved device capacitance and gap uniformity also enhance detection sensitivity. By adding a center mass to the membrane, a large ratio of second-order resonant frequency to first-order resonant frequency was achieved. This improved the FBW. Piston CMUTs featuring membranes of different geometric shapes were designed and fabricated using wafer bonding. Fabricating piston CMUTs is a more complex process than fabricating CMUTs with uniformly thick membranes. However, no yield loss was observed. These devices achieved ~100% improvement in transduction performance (transmission and reception) over classical CMUTs. For CMUTs with square and rectangular membranes, the FBW increased from ~110% to ~150% and from ~140% to ~175%, respectively, compared with classical CMUTs. The new devices produced a maximum output pressure exceeding 1 MPa at the transducer surface. Performance optimization using geometric membrane shape configurations was the same in both piston CMUTs and classical CMUTs.
Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:56 , Issue: 1 )
Date of Publication: January 2009